Claude Edward Payne

Date: 
2013-05-14

Chemical engineer, priest, bishop, author, visionary leader: You have brought your passion for the spread of the gospel to your ministries, and you have had a major influence on energizing the mission of the church.

Earning a chemical engineering degree from Rice University, you began your career with Union Carbide, now known as Dow Chemical, where you installed the first computer on a company production unit--not surprising for a man known as an excellent administrator and a forward thinking leader.

Following God’s call to ordained ministry, you went on to earn an MDiv from Church Divinity School of the Pacific. You served four parishes, the last being St. Martin’s, Houston, before being elected bishop for the Diocese of Texas.

As bishop you chaired St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System and established Episcopal Health Charities with $150 million for community healthcare. You served as a trustee of Baylor College of Medicine, where you hold emeritus status. You chaired the boards of Camp Allen, where you doubled its size with a $14 million expansion; Episcopal High School, St. Stephen’s School and Seminary of the Southwest.

You co-authored with Dr. Hamilton Beazley Reclaiming the Great Commission, which documented the vision and experience of moving the focus of your diocese from maintenance to mission. This work and vision caught the imagination of the wider church, and you hosted six annual “Clear Vision” conferences for Episcopal bishops and their staffs.

Your “retirement” has not meant golf and bridge, two favorite hobbies; rather, you have co-founded the Gathering of Leaders, which enhances leadership for younger clergy in the U.S. and Canada; you serve the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference for mediation with global conflicts; and you accepted our seminary’s request to chair, with your wife Barbara, our $15.9 million Campaign for Leadership.

Your “Miraculous Expectations,” “Clear Vision,” and “Big Holy Audacious Goals” have inspired the Church and raised the bar for the leaders and institutions you have touched. In recognition of your accomplishments, your faithfulness and your tremendous service, Seminary of the Southwest is honored to bestow upon you the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa.

Austin, Texas                                                                                                                                          May 14, 2013